When Home Depot and Char-Broil parted ways, it left a hole on the showroom floor previously occupied by the only inexpensive infrared gas grill on the market at the time. Enter Nexgrill.
The Bottom Line
At one time Char-Broil was the only manufacturer to offer an infrared grill; while you can debate the true merits of this method, the technology has been in demand. Nexgrill, always willing to sell grills through large box stores, jumped in to try and fill the niche left by Char-Broil with a unique "infrared" gas grill. The Evolution 5-Burner model purports to convert between conventional cooking and infrared. But the infrared function doesn't really deliver the concentrated high heat this method requires.
Large cooking area
Range of features
Thin parts and prone to corrosion
Issues with flare-ups
Weak infrared cooking system
The Nexgrill Evolution 5-Burner Stainless Steel Model# 720-0882A packs five 9,000 BTU stainless steel tubular burners into 676 square inches of total cooking space. This translates to a 45,000 BTU maximum output from the main burners.
The model also includes one 12,000 BTU standard side burner. The stainless steel cooking grates come with removable "infrared" cooking plates. Manufactured in China of stainless steel and painted steel, it includes an electronic (battery-powered) ignition switch and a cover. The propane tank and optional rotisserie kit are sold separately. The grill comes standard for propane but can be converted to natural gas.
In 2016, Nexgrill introduced the Evolution Gas Grill. This 5-burner grill has nearly 500 square inches of cooking space and a standard side burner, similar to many of the other shiny stainless steel gas grills sitting next to it on the showroom floor.
But this grill supposedly includes infrared technology, allowing you to cook with radiant heat. In contrast to conduction cooking, when raw food comes into contact with a hot surface, such as in a skillet, and convection cooking, where hot air surrounds the food, such as in an oven, infrared cooking involves a super-heated element that radiates heat to the food. The appliance in your kitchen that best demonstrates this principle is your toaster.
In terms of grilling, the flames heat a ceramic or glass element located either underneath or on top of the grates, rather than the grates themselves. Some cooks prefer infrared heat, which in theory can reach much higher temperatures than conventional methods.
But lower price infrared solutions generally do not deliver the high temperatures of true infrared technology. The Nexgrill Evolution performs much like a standard grill, with no discernible advantage with the infrared conversion.
The Nexgrill Evolution gives you the option of inserting the included "infrared heat" plates over the standard cooking grates on the grill. These infrared heat plates – sheets of stainless steel with perforations – supposedly convert the conventional heat of the burners into infrared heat. But since you're then cooking directly on the plates, it's actually more like conduction cooking, which, while effective, doesn't deliver the charred results you would typically expect from grilling.
Otherwise, the Nexgrill Evolution is pretty standard for its size. This unit is large with a number of features, yet it weighs only about 100 pounds, including all of the cooking grates, infrared heat plates, the side burner, and a fully enclosed cabinet. But typical of grills in this price range, the overall construction quality is lacking. There are also issues with flare-ups and the infrared heat plates tend to warp.
If this style of gas grill interests you, I suggest you consider the Char-Broil Commercial Infrared 4-Burner Model# 463242715 as a better choice. The construction quality and infrared design beat the Nexgrill Evolution. You might also like the Nexgrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill With Side Burner.